The Oracle speaks
The wines will make your heart race. Deftly supple, pristinely pure, generous, rich and packed with flavour. A unique style of Champagne, which Caves Legrands recognised very early on, long before the rest of the world became aware of them. They are the stuff of dreams, singing their terroir and lifted by a delicate, subtle mousse. Anselme Selosse has become a celebrated name in Champagne and everyone should taste his wines at least once in a lifetime.
It has been a long and winding road to reach this point. Excellent heritage plays an important part: Anselme's parents were grape growers with vineyard holdings in prime sites in Côtes des Blancs. But the real key behind the stratospheric ascent of this once shy child, is his wife Corinne, a fiery creative-type from Paris, who took the young champion water-skier in hand and revealed his true potential. "He was handsome and muscular, but I wasn't aware then of the character behind it" she reminisces thirty years on.
His parents instilled the value of courage and honesty, his wife taught him to share, enjoy life and to be exacting. When his neighbours were busy expanding, she stressed the need to concentrate on quality. "She made me see things in a different light". "With her, there was never any question of sitting back and watching the vines grow" "resting on my laurels would be a waste! I must always be improving. I would hate to disappoint her."
She supports him when his family disagree with his decisions: to go bio-dynamic, to raise prices and focus on quality. "Harvests are like being bowled a ball, I have to be on my game. Everything happens in eight hours. Must is a fragile entity. You have to be able to understand it, to coax it into a natural fermentation. The fear of not being up to the task can become overwhelming, but Corinne is always at my side: she calms and appeases me."
Today, the Selosses some forty parcels spread throughout Avize, Cramant, le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Ambonnay. Following with Burgundian tradition, the wines are fermented in barrel. My job is to find "each individual character its rightful home". "I am not the master, merely a servant to all these different personalities."
The harvest is coming to an end. There is a feeling of anticipation in the air as the new vintage gurgles away in barrel. Dressed in jeans and casual shirt, the intrepid winegrower is busy welcoming journalists, photographers, diplomats to his new 'fiefdom', in which he finally feels at home (this is the tenth time they've moved cellars). Anselme enjoys receiving visitors his château in Avize, which he and Corinne have transformed into an hotel, a place that reflects the style of his wines, tasteful and refined, but also wacky and daring. His life is full of magic and surprises.
"Nature is a wonderful thing. It is not for me to judge if she's right or wrong. So long as she leaves with 90%, I'm happy."